One of the great things about RV camping is that you can stay warm and cozy even when the temperature drops below freezing. In our recent post about winter RVing, we included tips on successful cold-weather camping strategies. But since our visit was so short, we were able to leave out some steps. Winter RV camping for extended periods calls for some additional modifications to your normal setup. One thing you’ll almost certainly want when RVing in below-freezing temperatures for any length of time is a heated RV water hose.

What is a Heated RV Water Hose?

A heated RV water hose is used when RVing in below-freezing temperatures. Because of the added heat, it won’t freeze even when it’s cold outside. That way you can have on-demand water available at the RV park water hook-up no matter how cold it gets, or how long you’ll be there.

Why Do You Need a Heated RV Water Hose?

Although some people choose to store their RVs for winter or travel south for warmer temperatures, others choose to brave the cold. If you do this, you need a heated RV water hose to ensure your hose doesn’t freeze into a solid tube. In other words, if your hose freezes, you won’t be able to get water from the rv park water hook-up into your RV. In some cases, this can even damage the spigot, your pressure regulator, or even your RV itself.

Items Needed To Make Your Own Heated RV Water Hose

You can purchase a ready-to-go heated RV water hose from the store. But it’s generally going to cost more, in some cases quite a lot. If you didn’t know, heated hoses can be expensive! But you can get the exact same job done as a DIY project. Before you make your own heated RV water hose, here are the materials you’ll need to have on hand:

Items Needed to Make Your Own Heated RV Water Hose
Items Needed to Make Your Own Heated RV Water Hose

DIY Heated RV Water Hose

Once you have all your supplies, you’re ready to get started with the fun part!

1. Wrap Hose Length in Aluminum Foil

The first step to making a heated RV water hose is to wrap your standard RV drinking water hose in aluminum foil. When you finish, the aluminum foil should be snuggly around the hose. The aluminum foil is there to even out the heat all the way around the hose, rather than having it create a hot spot against one side of the water hose.

2. Insert Hose Into Split Foam Tube

After that, lay your aluminum wrapped hose inside a split foam tube. You can find these tubes in the plumbing section of a hardware or home improvement store. They come in different sizes, so just be sure to get one that has a large enough opening to fit your water hose (1-1.5″ inner diameter should be good).

Heat tape tucked inside foam tube for a DIY heated RV water hose
Heat tape-wrapped hose tucked inside a foam tube

3. Run Electric Heat Tape Inside Foam Tube Along Hose Length

Once the hose is inside the foam tube, the next step is to lay the heat tape along the length of the hose. The heat tape should lie in a straight line and be tucked inside the foam tube.

If your RV has a designated water compartment, make sure the heat tape runs the length of the entire hose, including the portion of it that enters the RV and is inside the water compartment.

4. Seal Seam with Duct Tape

If your hose needs several foam tubes to cover its length (which it most likely will), use duct tape to seal the seams. This prevents the multiple foam tubes from coming apart or falling off your hose. Even though the split foam tubes came with adhesive along the split (making duct tape unnecessary to close the tube around the hose), you’ll still want to tape the lengths of tubing together where the ends meet, creating one continuous, unbroken insulated tube along the length of the water hose.

5. Use Additional Heat Tape for the Water Spigot

The next step to making a DIY heated water hose is to ensure the water within the faucet doesn’t freeze. To do this wrap heat tape and foam tubing around the spigot.

6. Wrap Faucet and Additional Exposed Spigot Area in Heat Wrap Tape

Some parts of the spigot will likely be too large to cover with your foam tubes, but you still want to insulate them to make sure they don’t freeze. For these portions, you can either wrap the end of the electric heat tape that sticks out beyond the end of the foam tube (if available) around it, or use insulated heat wrap tape. Wrap the insulated heat wrap tape around the spigot to completely cover any exposed sections.

7. Be Sure All Exposed Hose and Spigot Areas are Protected

Before you finish the job, give everything a once over. For instance, inspect the entire hose and spigot to ensure you covered everything in heat tape and foam/insulation. Be sure you insulated the spigot all the way from the ground to the hose. The only part that should be exposed is the knob to turn the water on/off. In addition, use a good quality, heavy-duty extension cord to plug in your heat tape. Most heat tape has a thermostat that will turn it on automatically when the temperature drops below about 40-45 degrees.

Lastly, fill your fresh water tank just in case. That way, if your hose does freeze temporarily, you’ll still have water for a few days while you wait for the temperature to rise.

Protect Your RV Fresh Water Hose From Freezing With This Simple DIY Method

In conclusion, winter is no reason to give up on RVing. In fact, you’ll probably enjoy how much less crowded the park will be. ? Above all, you can get out and enjoy all those fun winter activities and come home to a toasty RV! But when you camp in freezing temperatures for any length of time, you’ll need to protect your RV water hose. Luckily this doesn’t have to cost a fortune with this simple method of making a heated RV water hose yourself! But if you’d rather buy a pre-made heated RV water hose, our friends Tom & Cait have a great post about the different no-freeze water hose options that are available on the market.

And if you want some more tips about how to prepare for winter RVing, be sure to check out our first post about How To RV in the Winter, and see all our winter RVing posts here.

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  1. Instead of aluminum foil wrap the hose in aluminum tape. Aluminum tape is readily available at the Big Box home stores, and the independently owned hardware store. It is usually found in the same aisle or near as ducting, insulation ect.., If you put the heat tape into the split foam; then lay the hose on top of the heat tape; close the split foam with the split side up; then when using the hose the heat tape is under the hose with heat rising the entire hose will be heat protecting. I work with heat tracing as part of my everyday job and if the heat tape is next to or on top of the hose the under side of the hose in closest contact with the ground could potentially freeze depending on outside temp ect.

  2. Another post with good DIY tips. We are in the Rio Grande Valley TX for the winter.
    Merry Christmas to you both and a Safe and Happy New Year 2021.

  3. This is a nice and good idea. The only problem I see with this is that the prepped hose is
    hard to coil up. The insulating foam tubes are not very bendable. Maybe not a problem with a bigger A-class RV, with large bays, but questionable for B- or even C-class RV’s with limited space in the under floor compartments.

    1. That’s true, Hans… having the water hose wrapped up this way makes it take up more room, since it’s less bendable. In that situation, there are a few options you could try:

      1. Disassemble the hose between uses… the adhesive that holds the split-tube insulation won’t re-seal it, but you could tape it closed with Duct tape instead
      2. Purchase one of the pre-made heated hoses, since they SHOULD be more malleable than the DIY version (although still more bulky than just a standard water hose)
      3. Fill your fresh water tank and run off of that using your onboard pump… only connecting to city water to refill your tank, so you don’t have to worry about the fresh water hose freezing (stow it away again in a heated compartment between uses)

      Hope that helps!

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We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

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